I grew up Lutheran. Well I have parents that were Lutheran. Although my mom was Catholic and I was baptized Catholic but then my mom converted to Lutheran.
On Sundays when it suited my dad we went to church. I attended catechism classes at a Lutheran church and was confirmed in the church. Mostly during classes my BFF and I would scribble notes. I remember one note that we scribbled was a picture of a thumb with a red circle with a line through it – we called it WAT – Woman Against Thumbs. I believe it was during a lesson about how a woman should serve her husband. Yup I had a little feminism in me back then – ok still do.
When I was 16 I didn’t want to go to church on Easter Sunday. My mom didn’t have to go. Ok she had worked until 2:30am and wasn’t feeling good, but since she didn’t have to go I didn’t want to go. After a screaming match with my dad where he “gave up” I decided I would go screw around with friends only he had removed the spark plugs from my car. No church – no friends.
Sometimes my folks would let my older sister and I skip early service if we agreed to go to late service. We would get into her car to go, stop by the church and pick up the church program then go out for breakfast. We were such little sinners.
In college I proclaimed I was an agnostic. I barely know what the heck that means now let alone then but all my college friends were the same so I assimilated.
While in basic training in the United States Air Force I attended church service. It was a nondenominational service. They played great music. It was two hours a week where the TIs (Training Instructors – think drill sergeant) couldn’t yell at us or pop us in the forehead with the brim of their TI hat. Once during service the pastor asked those who felt the spirit of the Lord to stand and at that moment I did so I stood. (Although I may have just been hungry and thus light-headed). Still in letters home to extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents) I wrote about a new-found love for the Lord. My mom told me some of them were afraid I’d joined a cult.
After basic training I attended technical training. I was learning to be a contracting agent for the USAF. Basically learning how to spend tax dollars. It was a lot to study and thus church on Sundays didn’t continue – also church got in the way of hanging out with other airman and watching TV.
Despite my requests to be stationed abroad – Germany, Italy, and Spain I was assigned to Lackland Air Force Base – the same base I completed Basic Training and Technical Training. That worked out well though since I met my dear husband in the contracting office.
We were young – early 20′s. We fell in love and were married. My folks pastor at the Lutheran church where they lived agreed to marry us despite the fact my husband was not Lutheran and didn’t practice any religion. (I think my parents might have lied to the pastor but I went along and so did Chad.)
We didn’t attend church at all during our four years in the service. Our first child was born and we took her back to WI to be baptized in the Lutheran church. It’s what Lutheran’s do – baptize – so we did. We both finished our 4 years in the service and became civilians again. Chad started a new job that allowed me to stay home with our daughter. When she was nearly two I wanted her to be in a mothers-day-out type program to be around other kids and I wanted to work a little. Thus I became a mother’s-day-out teacher in a Christian mothers-day-out school at a Lutheran church. Being around the church and teaching Christian lessons in my class drew me closer to the Lord once again. I got more involved with the church, attended service occasionally and my spirituality grew.
Our second child was born and we baptized him in the Lutheran church I worked at and had joined. I had to stop working while he was an infant although I continued to volunteer in the nursery on Sundays, teach music to the students at the school and attend church. At some point, and I can’t remember exactly why but I think it had something to do with the pastor retiring and me not liking the new paster, I switched Lutheran churches. Our third child was born and we baptized him in the new church. The pastor of the new church seriously ticked me off the day of Sugarboys baptism so we stopped going.
It would be two more years before we stepped into a church again and it was because I wanted to teach again. I was offered a job at a Lutheran Pre-school and I accepted. Yes – yet another Lutheran church – there was something comforting in knowing I could attend church then go out for beers and wings with the pastor and congregation members after late service.
All was going well. I started attending service again, began teaching Sunday school and felt my spirituality returning although watered down.
Then Sugarboy was diagnosed with diabetes. Oh that day sucked. It was a Wednesday. After we checked into the hospital with my tiny little 2-year-old I had to go collect my older kids from a neighbors. I hadn’t cried in the hospital. I didn’t want my baby to see me cry. But after I left the room and got in my van all bets were off. I sobbed. I wailed. I asked WHY WHY WHY. It was rush hour on I-35 in Austin, TX. So many cars. I couldn’t see straight because of the tears. I had to pull onto the left shoulder of the highway. I sat there slamming my fist into the steering wheel. Screaming and cursing. I knew I had to get it together. I had to get my older kids, feed them dinner, explain what was happening, take them to see their brother.
I turned the radio on in my van. A song had just begun.
I hadn’t heard it before. I listened for a second. Then I felt something I had never felt. It was a whoosh feeling as if something had entered my body (picture some movie where a spirit/ghost takes over a body). The tears stopped. The shaking stopped. I could see – I mean SEE. I felt strong. I felt angry but with purpose like I was suiting up for a fight and I had an awesome coach whispering strength in my ears and I was pumped.
Over the next couple years the Lord and I became closer. I was reading the Bible and was very much involved with the church. It felt good. It felt right. It gave me the strength that I needed to be what I needed to be for me and for my kids.
Alas, the pastor of the church retired. A new pastor was called upon. He was fun, made jokes, and things went on. Although unrest with the congregation grew. Changes the new pastor was making with the school and church were not fully supported by many of us. I still had my faith but I wasn’t sure the new direction of the church was going to suit me and some of the things being said and done to co-workers was challenging my commitment to that church.
Then my daughter was diagnosed. With a faith already being challenged I was weak and this time I got angry. I got angry at God. I’ve been angry for nearly 4 years now. I quit teaching at the church school at the end of the school year. I stopped attending church. I put up my Bible. I gave God the finger basically.
I never stopped believing – you can’t be as angry as I’ve been at someone you don’t believe in.
The thing is – I’m tired of being angry.
I desire faith.
I long for and miss the feeling of a living spirit living within me.
I miss the strength I had felt after Sugarboy’s diagnosis.
I miss hearing the words of songs I love. I still listen to my playlist titled “moms spiritual music”. I mean it’s good music. Only over the last 4 years I would find myself listening to pop Christian music while rolling my eyes at the same time.
I still pray. Only I never pray for myself. I pray for others.
I really am just tired of being angry. I’m open to suggestions on how to stop being angry. I’m open to ideas on how I can forgive God because it has always been my understanding that He either makes something happen or allows it to happen. There is no middle ground. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, he is ALL. So why does he let so much ugly happen to the children, to us?
Yesterday I knew it was going to rain. My daughter knew it was going to rain. She didn’t take her umbrella. As it poured I considered taking her an umbrella. Her school doesn’t have a hallways – the students have to walk outside to switch classes. I had her umbrella in my hand at one point. I had to will myself not to take her an umbrella because I can’t always protect her from bad decisions or bad planning. Is it like that? Is God just not doing the helicopter parenting thing? Because that would suck. Diabetes isn’t because of a bad decision or poor planning.
I’ve rambled for a great deal of time. If you’ve read this whole post you are awesome (or have entirely too much time on your hands). This post was for me. Writing sometimes helps me recognize actions I need to take. I could use a map though. I tried putting God into map quest but it came back with – No results for “god”.